Monday, June 13, 2011

The Miracle Baptism of Daniel Peña

Hola Familia,
What an amazing week we had!!!  We are learning from our mistakes and working harder and smarter.  This week we had a baptism for Daniel Peña and I'll tell you more about how awesome of an experience it was a little later.  We also had two complete families in sacrament meeting and they are on date for this coming Sunday to be baptized!  This last Sunday was a neat experience once again to be sitting at the piano up in front and see that a good half of the ward are recent converts and investigators from my almost 6 months here.  I hope and pray that when I leave here that this doesn't change.  They all seem so happy and at peace and it brings happiness that I have never felt until the mission watching them enjoying the Sacrament.
So about the baptism of Daniel, it was a huge, honking, hecka miracle to the max!  He is a boyfriend of one of the members of the ward.  She brought him to church, introduced him to us, and then asked when we could come teach him.  We set up the appointment super grateful for the reference.  As we went to the first lesson we didn't know what to expect.  We began talking to him about how he liked Sacrament meeting the other day and he surprised us by saying that he had been in many a Sacrament meeting.  He then explained that he had been through many missionaries and that he still wasn't convinced about baptism. We had decided beforehand to talk about baptism and now in the lesson it was clear that it was the most important thing to talk about at the moment.  After teaching the doctrine it came time for the invitation to be baptized.  Feeling the strong Spirit that was in the room at the time I felt impressed to put him on date for the Sunday of the following week.  He thought about it for a moment and then started spitting out tons and tons of doubts.  We decided that instead of attacking them head on in this appointment that we would write a list and the next lesson we would address all of them.  He then listed off about 5 questions and doubts and we ended the lesson.
In the next lesson, we had prepared a lesson plan to address the list of questions and within a couple minutes we had resolved every single one of them.  We then asked him if he had any other doubts and he told us that he didn't.  Seizing this moment, I testified to him the importance of baptism and that he was ready to follow the example of Christ.  I then re-invited him and to our surprise he said "yes but I'll  tell you for sure the next time you come."  We were so excited and decided that the next time would be a baptismal interview by a Zone Leader.  When we were about to get to the church for the interview we got a phone call from his girlfriend the member telling us that he was sick and would not be going.  I told the girl from my ward that a missionary from far away was coming to talk specifically with Daniel and asked if he could still come.  About 10 minutes later she called us back saying that they would arrive in about 20 minutes.  Miraculously they arrived and we started the interview.  After the interview he came out and my Zone Leader told me that the next appointment on Friday he would tell us whether or not he would be baptized.  We were pretty excited that he was still considering following through with it and decided that we would pray and fast for him.
Thursday, a motorcycle policeman rolled up along side us and we not knowing what he would want greeted him cheerfully.  It turned out to be Daniel on duty in our area and he stopped to tell us that he would not be able to make it Friday because he was going to a different part of Distrito Federal to do something for work.  We made an appointment for later in the day on Friday and then went about our work of the day.  Friday we went to the church for the appointment and he wasn`t there.  We waited a whole 30 minutes calling every 2 or 3 minutes hoping that he would finally pick-up.  Elder Lubiano and I said a quick prayer together and then decided to wait a bit.  We then tried to call him again and this time he finally answered.  We asked him how he was doing and then if we could go ahead with his baptism and he said "yes, what do I need to bring?"!!!!  We then made all of the preparations.
Sunday the day of the baptism he arrived late to church meetings but man was I relieved to see him walk in, happy to be there.  During the third hour when we had finished putting all our investigators in their classes, the girl who gave us the referral of Daniel came up to us very worried about something.  She then explained that she was worried that Daniel wasn't ready for his baptism and that it would just be a bath rather than a real baptism.  I felt prompted to tell her that he was ready.  As I said it I felt a strong sensation of the Holy Ghost bearing testimony to me and to her that he was in fact ready and willing to be baptized for the right reasons.  She feeling a lot better about things went back to her class.  In the baptismal service there was such a sweet feeling of the Spirit in the room and I felt over and over again that Daniel was in fact ready.  As he went through the ordinance, the Spirit of Promise testified to us of the divinity of the baptism and that the Lord accepted it.  I talked to him afterwards as he explained to me that he finally understood the importance of obedience and that it was to do the things God commanded because there is no other way.
He congratulated us telling us that we were the winners of 8 other missionaries before us.  This experience is such a testimony to me of the purpose we have as missionaries.  We are here in the mission field to invite people unto Christ through faith, repentance, and baptism.  As we focus on this fundamental fact we will see much more success.  More people will want to take the step of baptism when they understand the importance and the blessings they will receive.
I love the Lord and going about His work.  It was such a sweet experience to look back on the conversion of Daniel and see the hand of the Lord guiding us in what to do.  I have learned that in every conversion story the hand of the Lord played the prominent role.  I am so grateful for this and for the opportunity to be a part of this miracle.  I hope all of you have a wonderful week and I love you tons and tons.  We will have news of the baptismal service of two families this next coming letter!
Con muchisimo amor,

Elder Janis

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